International Year of Light | Universidad Ana G. Méndez, Recinto de Cupey

International Year of Light

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International Year of Light and Light-based Technologies 2015 (IYL 2015)

On 20 December 2013, The United Nations (UN) General Assembly 68th Session proclaimed 2015 as the International Year of Light and Light-based Technologies (IYL 2015).

In proclaiming an International Year focusing on the topic of light science and its applications, the United Nations has recognized the importance of raising global awareness about how light-based technologies promote sustainable development and provide solutions to global challenges in energy, education, agriculture and health. Light plays a vital role in our daily lives and is an imperative cross-cutting discipline of science in the 21st century. It has revolutionized medicine, opened up international communication via the Internet, and continues to be central to linking cultural, economic and political aspects of the global society. IYL 2015 Official Page

International Year of Light Celebration in Puerto Rico: Nov. 5th - 7th, 2015

Nov. 5th, 2015 - International Year of Light Symposium: PHOTONICS, MEDICINE AND THE ENVIRONMENT (8am - 5pm)

On Thursday, November 5, 2015, PRPI Invites you to our International Year of Light Symposium entitled: PHOTONICS, MEDICINE AND THE ENVIRONMENT. The Symposium will be held in the Muñiz Souffront Auditorium on the UMET main campus in Cupey. It will start at 8am and finish at 5pm and is composed of a morning workshop and afternoon symposium. The agenda is below. We request a $20 donation from participants in the symposium, and Continuing Education credit is available (7 hours); the certificate costs $10. Suggested donation and Continuing Education certificate cost is for the whole day or for any of the sessions (morning/afternoon).

Morning (Spanish and English)

The morning workshop is based on a product of the 2009 International Year of Astronomy, the Galileoscope telescope. Each participant will build his or her own Galileoscope while learning along the way concepts of lens systems, focusing, imaging and image formation. We will blend in other concepts of optics and photonics, including optical systems construction, properties of light for the forming of images, light guiding, polarization, and other topics. The best thing is that participants will take the Galileoscope home with them. The workshop capacity is 100.

The workshop will present the following topics:

1.  Light Fantastic: The Nature of Light and Color.

2.  Light and nature: refraction, reflection, transmission, and absorption.

3.  Handling optics.

4.  Telescope design and applications (not just for astronomy).

5.  Lenses and their applications.

a.  Objective lens and imaging

b.  Eyepiece lens assembly

c.  Magnification

6.  Raytracing optics.

7.  Assembling and testing a telescope

8.  Other applications of light: filtering, polarization, and liquid crystals.


Afternoon (English)

  • We will have Keynote presentations by two prominent scientists in optics and photonics.
  • Dr. Heidy Sierra is a Research Fellow at the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in Manhattan, New York. Her specialty is in imaging and image processing for diagnosis and treatment of skin cancer using techniques of microscopy and laser ablation.
  • - Dr. Bahaa Saleh is the Dean of CREOL, the College of Optics and Photonics at the University of Central Florida. His areas of expertise are in optical coherence, nonlinear optics and quantum optics with applications to remote sensing & tomography, microscopy, and quantum communication.
  • In addition, we are pleased to welcome two prominent Puerto Rican scientists and engineers for contributed presentations:
  • - Roberto Alzaga, Manufacturing R&D Technologies, Medtronic, Inc.
  • - Samuel Hernández, Ph.D., Professor, Center for Chemical Sensors Development, University of Puerto Rico at Mayagüez

For registration and payment, please call 787-766-1717  x8280 x8281 x6285

Nov 6th, 2015 - Puerto Rico Photonics Institute Open House (10am - 12 noon)

The Puerto Rico Photonics Institute, an initiative of the School of Environmental Affairs at the Universidad Metropolitana, cordially invites you to its first Open House, on November 6, 2015 from 10:00 AM to 12:00 noon at its laboratories in the INTENOR REdI Building, Highway 2, km 59, Barceloneta, Puerto Rico.

At the PRPI Open House you will learn about photonics and the importance of this emerging technology in our lives, both now and into the future. You will see demonstrations and learn about educational opportunities through our soon-to-be-launched one-year certificate in “Photonics and Lasers Technical Specialist”, which was recently approved by the Puerto Rico Council of Education.

Don’t miss this opportunity to learn about the exciting new opportunities offered by photonics and PRPI! We look forward to meeting you!

Google Map: For additional information, please call 787-766-1717 x6285

Nov. 7th, 2015 - Concert of Light (7pm)

Universidad Metropolitana and the Musical Art Corporation presents Concert of Light (Concierto de la Luz) on Saturday, November 7, 2015 at 7:00p.m. at the Sala Sinfónica Pablo Casals at the Center for Performing Arts in San Juan (Centro de Bellas Artes Luis A. Ferré).  This presentation will be enhanced by the music of the Puerto Rico Symphony Orchestra featuring the science photography and commentary by renowned Puerto Rican astronomer and science communicator, Dr. José Francisco Salgado, providing a multimedia experience in an innovative pairing of science and art. The visual representation of Dr. Salgado will be accompanied by the orchestral suite The Planets op. 32 by Gustav Holst.  The program will also have the soloist Benito Díaz who will interpret Strauss’ second concert for trumpet and orchestra and the piece Borealis by the composer John Estacio, also with the visual representation of Dr. Salgado. 

These concerts, combining science and symphony, have been presented in more than 100 concerts and have reached a combined audience of more than 250,000 people in concert halls and educational institutions spanning 45 cities in 15 countries. Some of the orchestras that have presented these works include the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, the Boston Pops, the San Francisco Symphony, the Orchestra Teatro Regio Torino and the Chicago Sinfonietta.

The Universidad Metropolitana agreed to sell 300 tickets in zone A, B and C.  These prices include tax and service charges:


  • Zone A            $40.14
  • Zone B            $28.99
  • Zone C            $17.84

For tickets, please call 787-766-1717 x6285, x6412, x6479, or x6466

List of IYL 2015 Activities in Puerto Rico

Throughout 2015, the Puerto Rico photonics Institute (Universidad Metropolitana), the University of Puerto Rico, and other institutions will organize workshops and other activities to conmemorate the International Year of Light in our beautiful island. Please check often as this list will be periodically updated:

  • January thru December: School visits to Intenor Science Park: PRPI demos / Planeta Digital Geodome / Arecibo Observatory Presentation.
  • March thru December: PRPI visits to High Schools
  • February 18-20: Workshop on Optics and photonics at the VII International Symposium on Research in Applied Science & Engineering (Universidad del Turabo, Gurabo, PR)
  • March 2: visit to "San Vicente de Paul" School
  • March 4-5: participation in PR STEM's Up to the Challenge at Centro de Convenciones de Puerto Rico, San Juan, PR
  • March 20-22: Workshop "Discovering Light in Math and Science" for K-12 teachers participating in the Project Science and Mathematics in Alliance with Technology (University of Puerto Rico, Ponce) - Sheraton Hotel, Old San Juan, Puerto Rico
  • April 1 - 30: Exhibition "Light: Beyond the Bulb" at the José M. Lázaro Library, University of Puerto Rico Rio Piedras (UPRRP) Campus. Organized by Dr. Camen Pantoja, UPRRP. Entrance is free.
  • April 8 and 9: Conferences "Light: Beyond the Bulb" at Caribbean University, Bayamón. Presented by Dr. Gloria Isidro.
  • April 12: IYL Celebration at the Arecibo Observatory Visitor Center. Como visit us!!
  • April 17: Conference "Stars for All" at the University of Puerto Rico, Rio Piedras Campus. This conference is aimed at the blind and visually impaired community of Puerto Rico. Presented by Dr. Gloria Isidro and Dr. Carmen Pantoja. Video below:


  • April 22: PRPI table and demos at Earth Day @ Ft. Buchanan
  • May 3: Discovering Light in Science and Math - Week of Education - University of Puerto Rico, Ponce.
  • May 19: PRPI table and demos at "4to Foro de Regionalización", Condado Plaza Hilton, San Juan
  • June 9-19: Workshops on Light @ University of Puerto Rico Summer Camp "Campamento Gallitos y Jerezanas"quot;
  • June 22 and 23: Teacher Workshop: Light - Applications and Technologies in K-12 Teaching
  • July 27 thru August 2: PRPI participation in "Exhibición Casa Segura" - Plaza Las Américas Shopping Mall, San Juan
  • September 28: Manufacturing Week PRPI Workshop for College Students - Universidad Metropolitana San Juan
  • September 30: Manufacturing Week PRPI Workshop for High School Students - C3Tec Museum, Caguas
  • October 16: Day of Science at Universidad Metropolitana, Cupey (table with demos and presentations every 30 minutes)
  • November 5: International Year of Light Workshop (8am - 12 noon) @ UMET Cupey
  • November 5: International Year of Light Symposium: PHOTONICS, MEDICINE AND THE ENVIRONMENT (1pm - 5pm) @ UMET Cupey
  • November 6: Puerto Rico Photonics Institute Open House (10am - 12 noon) @ Barceloneta labs
  • November 7: Concert of Light (7pm) @ Sala Sinfónica Pablo Casals at the Center for Performing Arts in San Juan (Centro de Bellas Artes Luis A. Ferré)

These activities are possible by the generous support of: Universidad Metropolitana (UMET), PR Industrial Development Company (PRIDCO), Puerto Rico Science, Tecnology & Research Trust, SPIE, and Edmund Optics.


 Our students have developed a wave propagation software, in order to better understand the behavior of electromagnetic waves at the interface of two media.

Podcast - Light Pollution in Puerto Rico by Mirada Científica, Ciencia PR (in Spanish)

Listen as Enrique Vargas from CienciaPR interviews José Alicea, from the PR Environmental Quality Board, and other experts about light pollution in Puerto Rico. To access this program please click here.

Other Podcast by Mirada Científica available here.

IYL 2015 at Partner Institutions

Light and the Physics of the Cosmos - Instituto de Astrofísica de Andalucía (Spanish with English Subtitles)